I’ve done my fair share of renovating, so I feel pretty confident in that regard. Growing a baby on the other hand, is something I feel completely out of my depth with. So, it’s fair to say that renovating whilst pregnant has been a whole new experience…
Kyal’s been super keen to start a family for a while now. I’m from a big family, with younger brothers and sisters so I feel I know the realities of having kids more so than Kyal does. After 8 years of marriage, and approaching 30, very slowly that feeling of wanting a baby of my own has made it’s way in. When I said to Kyal ‘this year’ I figured it would naturally happen in months to come, however to my surprise (and Kyal’s delight) I fell pregnant very quickly. Having just started Toowoon Bay Reno we knew that our plan was to always have the renovation finished midyear. Plenty of time to grow a baby! What I wasn’t prepared for, was how rubbish I would feel in the first trimester!
Although I’ve never been in a rush to have kids, I have always been excited to one day be pregnant. I consider myself to be somewhat ‘fit’ and have always said I’ll keep up the exercise and gym routine whilst pregnant. This all went out the window very quickly when suddenly at 6 weeks even the word ‘gym’ made me dry-wretch. So with nothing to do but ‘listen to my body’ I scaled the exercise right back. When I say ‘right back’ I mean, I couldn’t do any initially. At one point I read a Lorna Jane article about a beautiful pregnant Lady who kept up all exercise and ‘Didn’t feel pregnant’ except for the larger breasts and tummy. Instead of feeling happy for her, my first instinct was to feel annoyed and jealous. I could deal with the lack of exercise initially, what I’ve found hardest is living in a renovation whilst feeling nauseous most of the day (and night). Suddenly things that would not normally phase me, were making my life miserable.
It sounds weird, but the smell of Kyal and the boys after a hard days work is normally something that makes me happy (mainly because I know stuff is getting done). However since being pregnant, this smell is something that sets my morning sickness right off. This and most other smells you’d expect with renovating – paint, glue, saw dust you name it.
Another thing I wasn’t prepared for was how overwhelmed I would feel compared to normal. Yes, we have a big job ahead of us to finish this house. The process and the transformation is normally something that excites me, and I don’t often feel overwhelmed. But with a busy work schedule, filming commitments, and the renovation, suddenly small things become big things. Like coming home to a thick layer of dust over everything. Normally, this is something I’d just accept, deal with and move on. The last few months, I’ve wanted to run away from home most days.
With all this being said, I’m well into my second trimester and am finally ‘seeing the light’ of feeling well and energetic again. The first trimester could have been better but it most certainly could have been a lot worse! As a physiotherapist, I’ve always been in awe at what the female body is capable of. However since being pregnant, I have a new found respect for any mother. Feeling very excited, blessed and ready (sort of) for what’s coming. Here are a few tips that have helped me the last few months of renovating…
Think about the long term benefits of a freshly renovated home and stay focused on this as opposed to the short term hell you may be going through. Whether it be a nursery you’re refreshing, or a whole house, the finished product is something you’ll be able to enjoy much longer than the time it took you to complete (hopefully) – as well as the fact you’ll have a beautiful new addition to enjoy it with.
Find things that make you feel better and be organised to make sure you have on hand. It’s a bit random, but for me, minestrone soup has been one of the few things I’ve found I could stomach initially. Without an oven or a cooktop at the moment, our Thermomix has been our kitchen saviour. The days I was organised and had soup prepared were definitely easier. I also have to mention that my mum and mother in law have been amazing and helped where they can with this – considering neither live locally and they both work full time, their help early on has been so appreciated.
Avoid The Demo
Avoid being around when any demolition is taking place. Particularly in older homes, you just can’t predict what you’re going to find, and the dust and dirt is something you want to avoid. It’s also very important to be aware that there is the risk in older homes that they’ve previously used a lead based paint. Heavily-leaded paint was common up until the late 1950s, and was slowly phased out up until the late 1960s. Depending on the age of your home, this is an important fact to be aware of. Find more information here.
Avoid painting in confined spaces. Unless you’re in a well-ventilated room, leave the painting for others. Also remember that your centre of gravity is changing, so any work up ladders is best left to others where possible.
Lists Are Essential
Even when feeling well, lists are my renovation secret weapon. I have my running ‘To Do List’ that is always evolving – however, at the start of each day, I also write a list of everything I need to achieve for the day. Breaking everything down keeps me somewhat on track on those particularly bad days.
I’d love to hear any other tips that have worked for those of you who have tackled a renovation whilst pregnant.